Founder & CEO, Hope2Sleep Charity
Kath Hope, herself a diagnosed patient of severe sleep apnoea, founded the Hope2Sleep Charity who raise awareness of sleep apnoea, support people with all forms of sleep-disordered breathing (especially those requiring CPAP or non-invasive ventilation therapy), and supply therapy accessories to enable people to get the safe, comfortable sleep they deserve.
June Rymer, a retired NHS employee, is one of the patients Hope2Sleep supports. It took a weekend away for June to discover she was suffering from sleep apnoea.
Snoring would cause June to stop breathing 15-30 times an hour. It took depression to set in until she finally took action…
June was sharing a room with her cousin and daughter who, as well as struggling to sleep through the noise of June’s snoring, were shocked to notice that, in between snores – she stopped breathing.
June’s husband had mentioned this previously but, not realising the seriousness of untreated sleep apnoea, she ignored the warnings. It was only when her life took a downward spiral and depression set in that she knew a GP appointment was necessary.
Thanks to June’s GP, she was diagnosed and treated for sleep apnoea
Fortunately for June, her GP spotted the symptoms of sleep apnoea and, before prescribing anti-depressants, referred her to the sleep and respiratory clinic at her local hospital for a home-sleep study. June was shocked to receive a diagnosis of moderate sleep apnoea (moderate means the person stops breathing 15-30 times per hour), and she certainly wasn’t looking forward to sleeping with a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine and mask, which is the gold-standard treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea.
I started to get back my love for life – the lack of energy that I presumed was just a part of ageing actually returned.
To June’s relief, her depression began to lift
After just a few nights of using the CPAP machine, June’s mood began to lift and her other symptoms of untreated sleep apnoea disappeared – snoring, morning headaches and the sleep disturbances caused by sweating, nightmares and occasional choking.
“Even the recurrent throat infections I’d previously suffered from stopped,” says June, “I started to get back my love for life – the lack of energy that I presumed was just a part of ageing actually returned.”
Untreated sleep apnoea is linked to heart attacks and strokes
As a result of her life-changing diagnosis, June now regularly volunteers at Hope2Sleep’s support and awareness events, where we provide free advice and a sense of community. June believes that good support is vital for anyone who must sleep every night with a mask.
June would now never consider sleeping without her CPAP therapy, and risk all those old symptoms coming back. She hopes that, by reading her story, anyone who snores – or has been told that they stop breathing during sleep – won’t ignore the signs like she did. This is especially important as June now knows that untreated sleep apnoea can increase the risk of heart attacks, strokes as well as many other medical conditions.